The government of Nigeria has disclosed that additional 698,880 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine against the rampaging coronavirus pandemic would be received on Monday (today).
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this on Monday during the flag-off of the second phase of vaccination against the pandemic in the country.
He said the new vaccines are part of the donation by the government of the United Kingdom, and that it would be targeted at those due for the 2nd doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.
“In the next couple of weeks, we will be expecting up to 3.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines to complement what we already have.
“This will also ensure that we cover not only those who will be taking their 2nd dose but also for those who will want to take their first dose of this vaccine,” he said.
2nd phase vaccination
Meanwhile, amidst the raging third wave of the pandemic, the country on Monday commenced the second phase vaccination of its citizens against the virus.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony held at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Jabi Abuja, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said the second phase would be largely prosecuted with the about 4 million doses of Moderna vaccines, which were recently donated by the government of the United States of America.
Mr Mustapha, who doubles as the chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC), said the country received another 177,600 doses of Johnson and Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccines from the African Union (AU).
“The arrival of the 4,000,080 doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine donated by the Government of the United States and the 177,600 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines out of the 29,850,000 doses the Federal Government has purchased through the Africa-Import-Export Bank and the African Union, is highly encouraging and motivating for us at the Presidential Steering Committee,” he said.
First phase vaccination
Nigeria had commenced COVID-19 vaccination on March 5, 2021, having received approximately four million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from COVAX.
This led to the successful vaccination of 3,938,945 eligible persons across 36 states and FCT, representing 98 per cent utilisation of the vaccines, the head of Nigeria’s immunisation agency, Faisal Shuaib, had said.
He said 2,534,205 people have been vaccinated for the first dose and 1,404,205 have received their second dose of the vaccine.
To achieve herd immunity against the infection, Nigeria had set an ambitious goal of vaccinating 40 per cent of its over 200 million population before the end of 2021, and 70 per cent by the end of 2022.
The vaccine roll-out was scheduled to be in four phases, starting with health workers, frontline workers, COVID-19 rapid response team amongst others.
The second phase, which commenced on Monday, would capture older adults aged 50 years and above and those with comorbidities aged between 18 and 49 years of age, Mr Shuaib said.
“Vaccines safe, effective”
Also speaking at the event, the World Health Organisation’s Country Representative in Nigeria, Walter Molumbo, said the introduction of these vaccines comes with a huge logistical preparation for the storage of the Moderna vaccines.
“Partners are very happy with the Federal Government’s huge investment in the procurement and the installation of Ultra Cold Chain equipment at the national strategic store and the state cold stores.
“This is a good sign of a committed government leadership at national and state level to have its citizens vaccinated against the disease,” he said.
Mr Molumbo noted that the country will be able to overcome all challenges for a successful Phase 2 vaccination rollout.
He reiterated that vaccines are a critical tool in the battle against COVID-19.
“These vaccines are safe and effective and will be the game-changer: but for the foreseeable future, we must continue wearing masks, physically distance and avoid crowds,” Mr Molumbo said.
Similarly, the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) Mojisola Adeyeye, said the agency has been preparing for the vaccination for about a year now.
“So you can ask yourself, why should I take the vaccine? Because NAFDAC worked around the clock to ensure that the health of Nigerians is premium in whatever we do.
“NAFDAC is also the only agency in the world that is using track and trace to monitor where the vaccines go,” she said.